1932-06-21 Jack Sharkey w pts 15 Max Schmeling, MSG Bowl, Queens, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1932-06-21 Jack Sharkey w pts 15 Max Schmeling, MSG Bowl, Queens, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Gunboat Smith. Scorecards: 7-3, 8-7, 5-10. Keenly contested from start to finish, but with no exciting action to speak of, Sharkey (205) got revenge over the champion, following their previous bout that had ended unsatisfactorily. Regardless of Sharkey’s victory, the majority of experts felt that Schmeling (188) had retained the title and were upset that the championship should change hands in such a close affair. It was certainly a difficult fight to score. Starting every round on the back foot, Sharkey used the left to good effect, countering consistently and keeping the hard-punching Schmeling off balance. It was a good tactic, especially when Sharkey was forced to fight on from the 11th with his left eye almost closed. The general feeling was that had Schmeling landed his powerful right, known as ‘Big Bertha’, with accuracy he would have retained his title.

With Sharkey contracted to the Madison Square Garden promoters to defend the title in New York the following summer, the scramble was on to find the next challenger, with Schmeling, Ernie Schaaf, Mickey Walker - the former double champion, Larry Gains and Primo Carnera being the leading five contenders according to The Ring magazine.

Among the coloured heavyweights, on 5 September 1932 at The Tex Rickard Memorial Stadium, Laredo, Texas, George Godfrey knocked out Roy Ace Clark in the fifth round to retain his ‘black’ title and then successfully defended it again against Tiger Jack Fox (w pts 10 on 31 January 1933 at the Northside Armory, Indianapolis, Indiana) and Bearcat Wright (nc 6 on 10 February 1933 at the Convention Hall, Kansas City, Missouri).

After losing to Sharkey, Schmeling beat Walker (w rsc 8 on 26 September at the MSG Bowl) before falling out with the Madison Square Garden promoters and aligning himself to Jack Dempsey, while Gains, the British Empire champion from Canada, got himself beaten by the non-rated Walter Neusel (l pts 15 on 17 October at the Sports Palace, Paris, France).

It had now become clear that the winner of a fight between Carnera and Schaaf would provide the opposition for Sharkey and, on 10 February 1933, the much derided Carnera beat Schaaf (w co 13 at the Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC) in what was a final eliminator scheduled for 15 rounds. Unfortunately, the contest had tragic consequences for Schaaf, who passed away in the aftermath. The Medical Examiner’s report following the autopsy stated that Schaaf had entered the ring with a brain ailment that could not possibly have been detected prior to the contest and with the amount of clubbing blows delivered to his head by Carnera the damage was exacerbated. It was also mentioned that Schaaf had suffered a bad bout of flu a month earlier and had spent six days in hospital from its effects.

On 8 June 1933 at the Yankee Stadium, Max Baer gained the right to meet the winner of Carnera v Sharkey when he beat Schmeling (w rsc 10) in a 15-round eliminator, but after continuing to play in vaudeville and partying he would be out of the ring for another year.